A 2011 suspension became a turning point for Corey Linsley. He moved from guard to center, a move that coincided with a conscious decision he made to improve himself personally. That decision paid off, as Green Bay selected the Ohio State center at No. 161 in the fifth round of the draft.
“It’s unbelievable,” Linsley said. “I hadn’t spoken with the Packers too much but they were actually my childhood favorite team.”
Linsley was one of two Buckeyes drafted Saturday. The St. Louis Rams took free safety Christian Bryant in the seventh round at No. 241.
Ohio State offensive lineman Marcus Hall signed with Indianapolis as an undrafted free agent.
Linsley explained that the two-game suspension for a violation of team rules in 2011 motivated him to make changes in his life.
“I wasn’t going down the football path I wanted to,” Linsley said on a Packers teleconference. “[OSU coach Urban] Meyer asked me, ‘are you going to commit yourself to the football team?’ I took responsibility for what I did and now I’m all into that mission.”
Now, Linsley begins his pro career as one of three players in line to compete for the Packers’ starting center job, along with Garth Gerhart and J.C. Tretter.
“We expect all inside three to be able to play both guard and center position,” Packers offensive line coach James Campen said. “We’ll put [Linsley] at center, and he’s going to have to show he can play at guard. But I like his flexibility.”
Bryant was a three-year starting safety but played in only five games in 2013 after sustaining a broken ankle in a 31-24 win Sept. 28 against Wisconsin. Bryant had 171 tackles (93 solo) in four seasons.
“He suffered a devastating injury and was a loss to OSU,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. “He’s almost back to 100 percent.”
Jeremy Gallon was Michigan’s lone player selected Saturday. The New England Patriots took the wide receiver in the seventh round at No. 244.
“I’ve been waiting a long, long time,” Gallon said. “I was doing everything I could to stay away from the television, keep my mind off the draft and to focus on other things. My name got called and it was a blessing, but if I didn’t, I was going to continue to live my dream and push forward.”
Gallon was the Big Ten’s second-leading receiver in 2013 with 1,373 yards and was noted not only for his diminutive size but also for the improvement in his blocking skills.